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Playing Zeus: Rocket-Triggered Lightning in New Mexico

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Monday, October 17, 2011, 4 pm

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This is a past event.

Elissa M. Eastvedt
Langmuir Laboratory
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Socorro, NM

Natural lightning is difficult to study because it is impossible to predict exactly when and where it will strike, and many key questions about how lightning flashes begin and propagate remain unanswered. Rocket-triggered lightning removes much of the uncertainty of when and where, allowing consistent observation by permanently installed instruments. While rocket-triggered lightning differs somewhat from natural lightning, data obtained from rocket-triggered lightning provides valuable insight into general lightning processes. Triggered flashes at Langmuir Laboratory's mountain-top facility are observed with Langmuir's Lightning Mapping Array (a 3-D VHF time-of-arrival system that reveals the lightning channels within the clouds), electric field mills, broadband electric field antennas, X-ray detectors, high-speed video, and more. Recent analysis focuses on the role of multiple channel branches in the origin of current pulses that occur during times of otherwise relatively steady continuous current to ground.

Host Claudio Mazzoleni


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